Monday, January 26, 2009


A message from our inmate's blog moderator and brother...

As most of you know, our inmate has been taking Systematic Theology classes for a while now. He sent me all of his course work and asked that I make it available on the blog. It is 18 pages of homework and is quite impressive!

It's a bit messy, since I had to scan in each page separately, but below you will find his course work. Please contact me if you'd like a PDF version of this same file.



Berkhof: Systematic Theology

Part One: The Being of God

Section #1 - The Existence God - pg. 19-28

1.   How can we study God objectively when we cannot study Him directly?

By drawing on Scripture and other s work like Berkhof.

2.   What are some of the dangers faced in focusing on a subjective study of God?

Everything you come across depends on whom you talk to or study. You tend to get different views of God from each person.

3.   Why is it important to make a distinction between the existence of the Christian God and the other gods?

To find common ground, to make sure you talking about the same God. To make sure you're discussing God objectively.

4.   What does the Christian base his/her faith in the existence of God upon?

The Christian accepts the truth of the existence of God by faith. Faith based on evidence found primarily in Scripture and second in God's revelation in nature.

5.   What is the difference between the theoretical atheist and the practical atheist?

Practical atheists are godless people who do not reckon with God and live like there isn't one. Theoretical atheists are more intellectual and base their reasoning on intellect and deduction.

6.   How would the following conceptions of God differ from the Christian God?

A.   An immanent and impersonal god - Pantheism?

Pantheism doesn't recognize a separate divine being separate from what He has created. The Christian God is stated

as a separate conscience above his creation and ruling.

B.   A finite and personal god — Polytheism?

Polytheism is having more than one God with specific attributes of finite powers (Greek Mythology). This is different from the Christian God, in that, it is backed by the Scriptures in both Old and New Testament stating there is only one God.

C.   God as the personification of an abstract idea - Illusion?

Abstract incorporates everything from ancient religions to modern new age that there is a "life force" that for lack of any other name is labeled God.

D. What difference do these variations make in our view of reality?

There is a lack of right or wrong of no justice, making God inept, reality would crumble. How we view God is hov we view life. It is important to know God and who he is.

7.   What are the following arguments for the existence of God?

A.   The ontological argument?

From an abstract thought of an absolute perfect being and therefore since the concept exists the perfect being exists

B.  The cosmological argument?

Everything in the world must have a cause, in turn everything in the universe has a cause, thus the cause is indefinitely great. Or the material universe is an interacting system; therefore a single unit there must be at the center of it all AKA God.

C.   The teleological argument?

The world everywhere reveals intelligence, order, harmony and purpose. So there must b an intelligent and purposeful being that created it

D.  The moral argument?

Man's recognition of a Highest Good and his quest for a moral ideal demand and necessitate the existence of God as an example and judge or arbiter.

E. The ethnological argument?

Among all humans in the world there is a sense of the divine, which reveals itself in an external cult or religion. Since this phenomenon is universal, it must be a part of the very nature of man and had to be instilled by a higher power or God.

F.  Do these prove the existence of God to believers or to unbelievers?

They help the unbelievers. The believers don't require these explanations; they have the Scriptures and faith.

Berkhof: Systematic Theology

Part One: The Being of God

Section #2 - The Knowabilitv of God - pg. 29-40

1.   How can we fit the concept of God being both knowable and incomprehensible together? How can both be true.

God is both incomprehensible and knowable in that a.) As his subjects we don't have the brainpower, logic or otherwise to know that He incorporates or how He works. He is so omnipotent that we can't wrap our heads around everything He is. We are only allowed to know God by b.) Reading His word or Scripture, His incarnate (Jesus Christ) and through His self-revelation to us (prayer, spoken, nature, etc.). I think both can be true in the fact that He reveals Himself to us but not everything is revealed, to now all about God is beyond our grasp, just as an ant's comprehension doesn't know of our world or us.

2.   How would you define the incomprehensibility of God? Do you have biblical support for this concept?

Unknown, hidden, too large to rationalize his motives, will, powers, appearance etc. Biblical support- Job 38:1-7, 11:7-8 ; Psalms 145:3 ; Ecc 7:13-14, 3:11 ; Isa 55:8-9 ; RM 11:33-36 ; 1TM 6:15-16

3.   How would you define the knowability of God? Do you have biblical support for this concept?

Self-revealed through prayer, nature, spoken. Biblical support- EX 3:14-15 ; 2CH 20:7 ; PS 19:1-4 ; JN 1:18, 14:6-9,17:3 ; 1JN hall, 5:20

4.   What is the main difference between an agnostic and an atheist? Are there any practical differences between the two?

Practically there is no real difference; the agnostic doesn't deny the existence of God, they just thin He is beyond comprehension. The atheist denies even the possibility of a god.

5.   Are agnostic arguments against our being able to know God about religious content or about how we as humans come to know things? How does their belief that we live in a closed universe (outside forces cannot enter into our universe) affect the agnostics view?

The agnostic arguments seems, to me, to be about how we, as humans, com to know things. That most subscribe to the concept of the closed universe is what you "know" is only what you can experience completely, which also means that anything outside has to be discarded including religious content because it is all "speculation" or half conceived ideas since God has never completely revealed Himself.

6.    Can we know anything about God that He has not revealed to us? How does this affect those who deny any
revelation from God (closed universe)?

No, it is impossible to know anything about God that he hasn't revealed to us one way, or another.

7.   How might a proper view of revelation undercut a subjective study of God and those who focus upon
religious experience over written truth/scripture?

Having a religious experience doesn't mean it is a "God" revealed experience. A good example is LSD.

8.   Are humans naturally open to the idea that God exists (semen religions) or maybe even have an inborn sensi
of God? DO you have biblical support for this?

Yes are naturally open to the existence of God (Romans 1:20) when things go wrong people always turn upward looking to God in anger or asking why.

9.   What is the distinction between innate and acquired knowledge? How does this apply to our knowledge of

Innate is born with or instinctual and acquired is studied, learned, and environmental.

10. How would you explain general revelation? Is there biblical support for it? Can one come to a saving faith
through general revelation?

General revelation is revelation through nature and yes there is biblical support in Psalms. There is no saving faitr) no personality for God.

11.  How would you describe special revelation? Are there specific things we learn through special revelation
that are not learned through general revelation?

Special revelation is anything that is not general revelation, personal, caring, thinking, conscience God.

12. How did rationalism and the rise of "science" influence the views of revelation? What danger is there
linking human reason and our ability to discern revelation too closely together?

Rationalism destroyed the need for revelation; the danger lies in pushing God off the discussion table because not all revelation will have human reason.

13. How should we view the revelation of God in the living Word versus the revelation of God in the written
Word? Or are these revelations of God interchangeable? Do conservative Protestants sometimes emphasize
the written Word over the living Word? How so?

In Jesus Christ we know God. COL 2:9, HEB 1:3

Berkhof: Systematic Theology

Part One: The Being of God

Section #3 — Relation of the Being and Attributes of God - pg. 41-46

1.    What can we know about the being or essence of God from the following texts: Exodus 3:14? John 4:24? 1
Timothy 1:17? 1 Timothy 6:16?

Exodus 3:14 = Personable, All encompassing. John 4:24 = God's very being, different than what we know of. 1 Timothy 1:17 = Duh! 1 Timothy 6:16 =God alone is immortal, man or man's soul is not, came in a form that we can relate to and understand.

2.    The Belgic Confession states: "...that there is one only, simple and spiritual Being, which we call God." Can
we really know this? How?

We can and do know this through His revelations and Scripture. Spirit = John 4:24 But Simple? I don't think so. Simple = not divisible; everywhere at all times. Then yes simple also.

3.   Is there a danger in considering God as being so incomprehensible that we end up with an impersonal and
abstract God? How so?

There is a danger of reverting to pantheism if we make God to abstract and not personable. You run the risk of "the life force" theory.

4.   Are there dangers in speculating about the being of God beyond what He has revealed to us? What are


You see the dangers of speculating about God above and beyond what He has revealed. From God is all "love and force" to projecting convenient attributes to fit your own personal agenda or needs.

5.   Is the following statement true: "...that God's attributes are God Himself, as He has revealed Himself to
us."? Can we say that God is His attributes (just, righteous, loving, etc.)?

Yes, the key part of that phrase is " He has revealed Himself to us."

6.   What can we know about the being of God by considering His many attributes?

Only what He has revealed to us through Scripture, self-revelation, etc. Loving, forgiving, Jealous, Just, Merciful, etc.

Berkhof: Systematic Theology

Part One; The Being of God

Section #4 — The Names of God - pg. 47-51

1.   How should we view the names of God? As given by man? As being descriptive of God? As being a
revelation of God?

The names of God whether given by man or not should be treated as Self-Revelation and are dumbed down so we can understand them and Him.

2.  What do the following proper names teach us about God?

Who he is and what his attributes are and our relationship to God and His relationship to us. A. Elohim?

Strong, mighty, high, exalted, all powerful

B.   Adonai?

Almighty Ruler of all. Man is his servant

C.   Shaddai?

Powerful as having control of all power and having control of nature to work His grace.

D.   Yahweh?

I AM what I AM, I shall be what I Shall be. The unchangeable one in and of himself and unchangeable with his relation to his people.

E.   Theos?

Same as Elohim (A)

F.   Kurios?

Mighty one, Lord; Possessor, Ruler, Same as Adonai.

G.   Pater?

Father. Father to the Son Christ as well as to His spiritual children, us.

3.    How are the names of God connected to His various relationships with the creation in general and humanity more specifically?

Each further describes His influence and power over all creation and gives personal attributes to Him for the sake ol man through self-revelation.

Berkhof: Systematic Theology

Part One: The Being of God

Section #5 - The Attributes of God in General - pg. 52-56

1.   Why must we avoid seeing God's attributes as something being added onto the being of God?

If it is an added attribute you're dictating what God is instead of what He is through self-revelation.

2.   Is there a danger in looking at humanity and human experience to try to inductively determine what the
attributes of God are?

You would run into the danger of a flawed and human like God.

3.   What is the proper starting place in determining the attributes of God? Why?

The proper starting place is Scripture because it is the only objective source. You can draw your own conclusions and lessons from it

4.   Why do theologians want to classify the attributes of God? What distinctions do they use in classifying the
attributes of God and are they clear distinctions?

Theologians classify the attributes of God for the sake of teaching, expanding knowledge about God and who He i See page 55 for the classifying attributes of God and yes they are clear distinctions.

Berkhof: Systematic Theology

Part One: The Being of God

Section #6 - The Incommunicable Attributes - pg. 57-63

1.   Describe the following attributes of God:

A.   Self-existence (what does it mean that God is independent?):

God is self-existent in that relies on nothing but Himself (self-reliant).

B.   Immutability (does God act or react? Did He decide to choose us when He learned we would choose Him?):

Unchanged Unchangeable.

2.   How would you describe the following aspects of God's infinity (being without limitations)?

A.   Absolute perfection:

Boundless Potential, Full Righteousness.

B.   Eternal:

Transcends time, no beginning, and no end.

C.   Immensity:

No size, everywhere at once totally and completely.

3.   How would you describe the unity of God?

A.   The Unitas Singularitatus (how many God beings are there)? (Does this affect how we view the Trinity?):

There is only one God being. No it does not effect the Trinity.

B.   The Unitas Simplicitatis (is God made up of parts)? (Does this affect how we view the Trinitv?1:

God is not made up of parts . The Trinity still supports one God being and in His omnipotence He is the Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, wholly and completely without one subtracting from the other.

Berkhof; Systematic Theology Part One; The Being of God

Section #7 - The Communicable Attributes (God as a Personal Spirit) - pg. 64-81


1.    What is the difference between incommunicable and communicable attributes?

Incommunicable is less personal of His being. Ex. "Eternal", "Self-existent". Communicable means the attribute He shares, making Him more personal, personable. Ex. "Loving", "Merciful" Etc.

2.              Are the natural proofs for the personality of God convincing? Where else might we find evidence for the
personality of God? How so?

3.              How does the teaching that God is spirit free us from a pantheistic view of God and creation? Why does this


4.              What is the difference between God's "necessary" and "free" knowledge?
Pg. 66-67

5.              What does it mean that God is "omniscient"? Is there biblical support for this?

God is omniscient or all-knowing because He knows Himself and in Himself all things that come from Him. ISA 40:28, RM 11:33-36, ISA 45:20-21

6.    Is it possible for God to be omniscient and for humanity to have freedom to act and choose on their own?
Why or why not? Are there dangers to look for in sorting this out?

ACTS 2:22-24, yes, in the fact that human free will is not arbitrary and action is always determined by something else to start the action. Therefore you have the free will to act within certain boundaries which God knows and controls.

7.    How would you describe the wisdom of God? Does this affect how you view the will and purpose of God?

God's Wisdom is what He applies to work out His purposes and plans. It affects my view of His will and purpose in that He is perfect with perfect wisdom and insight into what is needed to fulfill His plans and I, in my limited wisdom, am not always privy to that.

8.   How is the veracity of God seen in the ideas of truth, truthfulness, and faithfulness? How is this helpful to

He is Truth in a perfect ethical sense, in a logical sense that He is the foundation of all_knowledge. He is truth in faithfulness in which He is ever mindful of His covenant and promises. It is helpful to believers because He is never changing, reliable and gives us a focal point for belief and example to live by.

9.    How would you describe the following aspects of God's goodness? Have these been affected by the Fall? If
so. how?

The fall of man in retrospect brought into effect these different aspects of God's love. Without the fall or sin there would be no need for Grace, Mercy, or Longsuffering. Common Grace, Love toward his higher creatures would noi have been affected by the fall of man.

A. His goodness toward His creation (common grace);

It is the affection God feels toward His sentient creatures. He deals bountifully and kindly with all His creatures.

B.   His love towards His higher creatures:

That perfection of God by which He is eternally moved to self-communication.

C.   His grace towards sinful humans:

The unmerited goodness or love of God to those who have forfeited it, and are by nature under a sentence of condemnation.

D.   His mercy towards the saved and the unsaved:

The goodness or love of God shows to those who are in misery or distress, irrespective of their deserts.

E.   His longsuffering with His rational creatures:

The aspect of the goodness or love of God in virtue of which He bears with the sinful and evil in spite of their long continued disobedience.

10.  How would you describe the majesty-holiness of God and the moral holiness of God? Which of these does
He call us to? How so?

Majesty-Holiness is that He is absolutely distinct from all His creatures and is exalted above them. Moral Holiness is that perfection of God, hi virtue of which He eternally wills and maintains His own moral excellence, abhors sin, and demands purity hi His moral creatures. He calls us to moral holiness through moral law, morals implanted in man's heart, and hi His revelation.

11.  How would you describe righteousness, as it has to do with God and with humanity? Is there a difference
between the two?


Righteousness is the very nature of God's law and is the highest possible standard by which all other laws are judged including humanities laws. God's righteousness is perfect and the highest standard and humanity righteousness is imperfect and can only strive and measure itself against God's but will always fall short.

12. How are righteousness and justice connected? What is the difference between remunerative and retributive


Righteousness is what God is, it's an attribute. Justice is the verb or standard in measuring or putting righteousness in motion or action. Remunerative is positive, rewarding justice and retributive in punishing or negative justice.

13.  What is the sovereignty or will of God? Does the Reformed overstate the biblical teachings concerning the
sovereignty of God?

The sovereignty or will is God's authority over everything in heaven and earth in that all things are dependent on Him and subservient to His will. The reformed do not overstate the biblical teachings of God's sovereignty because it is one of the most heavily repeated and strongly emphasized in Scripture.

14.  What are some of the distinctions when considering different aspects of God's will? Is god's will free to be
arbitrary? How so?

The main distinctions seem to be a.) Decretive is that will of God by which purposes or decrees what ever shall com to pass, whether He wills it actively or causatively or to permit it to occur through unrestrained agency of His rational creatures a.k.a. letting things naturally come to fruition. B.) The perceptive will of God is the rules of life, which God lays down for His moral creatures indicating what He wants dome or enjoins on them. C.) The hidden will of God or "beneplacitum" is hidden until He reveals it or the event comes to pass in which it turns into "Signum" will or a sign or revelation will. This also relates and corresponds to the secret and revealed will of God. God's will in not free to be arbitrary because He is righteous and perfect unto even Himself and is able to have the free will only to accomplish what is pleasing to Him and meets and follows His own righteous goals.

15.  How can we fit God's sovereignty and sin together without making God the author or cause of sin? How do
we view the decorative and perceptive will of God within His sovereignty?

God's will with respect to sin is simply a will to permit sin and not a will to effectuate it, as He does the moral good. Decretive is that will of God by which purposes or decrees what ever shall com to pass, whether He wills it actively or causatively or to permit it to occur through unrestrained agency of His rational creatures a.k.a. letting things naturally come to fruition. The preceptive will of God is the rules of life, which God lays down for His moral creatures indicating what He wants dome or enjoins on them

16.  What does it mean that God is omnipotent? Is God able to do what is contrary to His nature (holy, etc.)?

Omnipotent means all-powerful is able to do anything. God's omnipotence in not free to be arbitrary because He is righteous and perfect unto even Himself and is able to have the free will only to accomplish what is pleasing to Him and meets and follows His own righteous goals.

Berkhof; Systematic Theology

Part One: The Being of God

Section #8 - The Holy Trinity - pg. 82-99

1.    How would you describe the beliefs of the following concerning the Trinity? Are they biblical?

A.   The Arians - believe that the Son is subservient to the Father and the Holy Spirit is subservient to the Son. Thus
creating a ranking system to the trinity with each person have less power than the one before it.

B.   The Tri-theist - disregard the Unity of God and the Unity of the trinity altogether to the extent that there are three
separate deities.

C.   The Modalists - view the trinity as the Godhead moving into different modes or "masks"; shape shifting so to

2.   What was settled and how was it settled at the Councils of Nicea & Constantinople? What creed does the
Christian church have today that is based upon their work?

The councils of Nicea and Constantinople settled in doctrine that the Son is generated by the Father, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, that all are God and equal to and unto themselves. The Nicean Creed is what the Christian Church uses today.

3.   Do these heretical groups exist today?

Yes they still exist today.

A.   Which religious group would be considered an Arian today?
Jehovah's Witness

B.   Which group would be considered as Tri-theists today?

C.   Which group would be considered as being Modalists today?

Oneness Pentecostal Groups

4.   Do theologians usually help or harm the discussion concerning the Trinity? Is there a danger in setting aside the Scriptures for human reason when considering the Trinity?

Theologians usually harm the discussion concerning the Trinity. If they didn't come up with there own interpretations of the Trinity and debate and enforce them then there wouldn't have been the Arians, Tri-theists, and Modalists. There lies the danger of setting aside Scripture for human reason when considering the Trinity.

5.   What two things are we trying to focus upon when we refer to God as a trinity in unity or as unity that is

To focus on the oneness of God while still recognizing the three persons of God.

6.   If God is personal is it also necessary that God be tri-personal or at least He has a multi-personal existence?

God is at least tri-personal because He was communing with himself and speaks and refers to Himself in plural in the first verses of the Bible. You also can't be personal with no object of creation to be personal with.

7.   Would we know about God as Trinity without special revelation? What is the Old Testament support for
the Trinity or at least for God being multi-personal?

No, you need special, not general, revelation. The first verse of the Bible in Genesis uses Elohim, which is a plural form of El. The word Trinity is not in the bible but there are several verses that point to the plurality of God and the trinity specifically.

8.   How does the New Testament show interaction within the triune God? How would you answer those who
say that the term Trinity is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures?

The New Testament points to Jesus being baptized and John 1, God creating through the word. Show the non-believers the multi instances of interaction between Jesus and God and the use of the Holy Spirit.

9.   How many divine beings are there? Is there scriptural support for this?

There is one divine being. Biblical support can be found at Iss. 45:1-7, Deut. 9, Iss. 45:27-29, Hosea 2-4

10.  Is it correct to say that God has three different modes of existence within the Trinity? Do the Scriptures ever
portray interaction between the three modes of existence in God? How so or in what areas?

Yes, for lack of better terminology, God does have modes, but still is only One God being. There is Scripture support of the three modes interacting. Matt. 3:16, 4:1, John 1:18, 3:16, 8:20-22, 14:26

11. Does the teaching of the Trinity mean that God has parts? Is there an equality or inequality between the personal modes of God?

Trinity does not mean God has parts. There is complete equality between the personal modes of God.

12.  Can we have subordination within the ontological Trinity (what they do) without having subordination
within the being of the Trinity (who they are)? How so?

There can be subordination within the Trinity with what they do without subordination of the beings of the Trinity.

13.  What is the difference between opera ad intra and opera ad extra"! What is meant by the economical Trinity?

Opera ad intra is the works being done within the Divine Being, which do not terminate on the creature or the created. Opera ad extra is those activities and effects by which the Trinity is manifested outwardly. The Economical Trinity is the order of submission. The Son submits to the father and the Spirit submits to both the Son and the Father.

14.  How has the church viewed our abih'ty to grasp the Trinity? Can we confess what the Bible teaches without
necessarily understanding it? Does this make Christians illogical?

The church has confessed the Trinity to be a mystery beyond comprehension of man. Through self-revelation only can we (man) catch glimpses of the Trinity therefore confess what the Bible teaches without understanding the whole thing.

15.  How would you view the various attempts of analogies to the Trinity?

Inadequate at the best, sometimes it does more harm than good.

16.  Is there much contention concerning the deity of the Father? Why or why not? What is the distinctive wort
of the Father?

There is not much contention concerning the deity of the Father. The distinctive work of the Father is the generation and creation, head of theocratic relation of the Trinity.

17.  In which works of God is the Father seen as taking the lead? Are these works completely separate from the
Son and Holy Spirit?

God the Father is seen taking the lead in creation and generation, designing the work of redemption, designing the work of election and representing the Trinity as the head. The works are not completely separate from the Son and Holy Spirit, but actually He uses them to accomplish His means. Eph. 1: 3-14.

18.  Is there solid biblical support for Jesus being the 2nd person of the Trinity? Is so, what? How would you
view the term Son of God as it applies to Jesus Christ?

Yes there is biblical support for Jesus being the 2nd person of the Trinity in the metaphysical, messianic and nativistic or human sense. All three views are important.

19.  Is the Son just another face of God (Modalism) or a distinct "person" from the Father yet within the

The Son is shown to be a distinct "person" from the Father yet remains within the godhead in that the bible speaks of the Father and Son alongside each other. The use of terminology like "only-begotten" and "firstborn" point to the relations between multiple person and only strengthens the argument.

20. How would you describe the eternal generation of the Son? Does this exclude the idea that the Son had a
"beginning" as the Arians taught?

It is that eternal and necessary act of the first person in the Trinity, whereby He, within the divine Being, is the ground of a second personal subsistence like His own, and puts this second person in possession of the whole divim essence, without any division, alienation, or change. This statement excludes the idea that the Son had a beginning since God the Father is eternal with no beginning or end so has the Son been there forever.

21. How would you answer someone who denies the deity of the Son and yet professes to believe the Bible?

Denial is only possible for those who disregard the Scriptures. If they still believe in the Bible there is a plethora oi passages you can point out to them that 1. Explicitly asserts the deity of the Son (John 1:1, 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; Tit. 2:13; 1 John 5:20) 2. Applies divine names to Him (Isa. 9:6, 40:3; Jer. 23:5,6; Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; 1 Tim. 3:16) 3. Ascribes to Him divine attributes, such as eternal existence, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, immutability, and in general every attribute belonging to the Father (Isa. 9:6; John 1:1,2; Rev. 1:8,22:13; Matt. 18:20,28:20; John 3:13,2:24,25,21:17; Rev. 2:23; Isa. 9:6; Phil. 3:21; Rev. 1:8; Heb. 1:10-12,13:8; Col. 2:9) 4. Speaks of Him as doing divine works such as creation, providence, the forgiveness of sins, resurrection, judgement and the final dissolution and renewal of all things (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16; Heb 1:2,10; Luke 10:22; John 3:35, 17:2; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3; Matt. 9:2-7; Mark 2:7-10; Sol. 3:13; Matt 25:31,32; John 5:19-29; Acts 10:42, 17:31; Phil. 3:21; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb 1:10-12; Phil. 3:21; Rev. 21:5) 5. Accords Him divine honor (John 5:22,23,14:1; 1 Cor. 15:19; 2 Cor. 13:13; Heb. 1:6; Matt. 28:19). .

22. How would you describe the economic position of the Son in the Trinity?

The Son occupies the second place in the opera ad extra. If all things are out of the Father, they are through the Son. (1 Cor. 8:6)

23. Where and how can we find the 3rd person of the Trinity being named? What Hebrew and Greek terms
underlie this name?

You can find the 3rd person of the Trinity in both the old and New Testament. The Hebrew term ruach and the Greek is pneuma.

24. Do the Scriptures portray the Holy Spirit as a personal being? Is so, how?

Scriptures portray the Holy Spirit as personal with: 1. Designations that are proper to personality are given to Him (John 16:14; Eph. 1:14; John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7) 2. The characteristics of a person are ascribed to Him like a.) Intelligence (Rom. 8:16) b.) will (Acts 16:7; 1 Cor. 12:11) c.) Affection (Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30). He is also described as doing personal actions like search, speak, testify, command, reveal, strive, create, make intercession, raise the dead. 3. He is represented as standing in such relations to other persons as imply His own personality (Acts 15:28; John 16:14; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:13; 1 Pet. 1:1-2) 4. There are also passages in which the Holy Spirit is distinguished from His own power (Luke 1:35,4:14; Acts 10:38; Rom. 15:13; 1 Cor 2:4).

25. How is the Holy Spirit related and/or compared to the Father and the Son? Is He equal to or subordinate to

He is equal in essence, but subordinate in the tasks to the Father and Son and as that eternal and necessary act of the first and second persons in the Trinity whereby they, within the divine Being, become the ground of the personal

subsistence of the Holy Spirit, and put the third person in possession ot the whole divine essence, wiinoui any division, alienation or change. This is called spiration.

16. How would you answer someone who denies the deity of the Holy Spirit and yet profess to believe the Bible?

The deity of the Holy Spirit may be established from Scripture 1. Divine names are given to Him (Ex. 17:7; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16) 2. Divine perfection's are ascribed to Him such as omnipresence (Ps. 139:7-10) omniscience (Isa. 40:13-14; 1 Cor. 2:10-11), omnipotence (1 Cor. 12:11; Rom 15:19) and eternity (Heb 9:14) 3. Divine works are performed by Him, such as creation (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13, 33:4) providential renovation (Ps. 104:30), regeneration (John 3:5-6; Tit. 3:5) and the resurrection of the dead (Rom 8:11). 4. Divine honor is also paid to Him (Matt. 28:19; Rom 9:1; 2 Cor. 13:13)

27. How would you describe the economic position of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity?

The Holy Spirit is in the 3rd economic position that is set by the Father and the Son. He builds on the work of the Father and the Son and brings them to completion.

Berkhof; Systematic Theology

Part Two: The Works of God

Section #1 - The Divine Decrees in General - pg. 100-108

1.    Is it important to emphasize or even consider the decrees of God? Why might the theology of some cause
them to either overemphasize or ignore the decrees?

I feel it is important to emphasize and study the decrees of God so that a person knows where they stand in discussing God and the arguments they will be challenged with. It is a fine line though because if you overemphasize the decrees you run the risk of being deterministic or "fatalist" and not bothering to do good and serve God. But if you ignore or discredit the decrees you run the risk of a God that has no control or at best is constantly reacting to everything after the fact it has been done.

2.   Are the decrees of God only in the abstract or have they been revealed in the Scriptures too? (real or

The decrees of God have been revealed in the Scriptures and use several terms in both the old and new testaments.

3.   Is there one divine decree or a series of decrees that adapt to changes? How does God's omniscience fit with
His decree(s)?

There is not a series of decrees in God, but simply one comprehensive plan, embracing all that comes to pass. God's omniscience is all immediate and simultaneous, outside of time, rather than successive like ours all immediate and simultaneous, outside of time, rather than successive like ours, and decree is always complete,

4.   How can God's certain decree include the free acts of His rational creatures? Is there a danger in
overemphasizing God's decree while ignoring the means He has chosen to implement His decree?

God's decree includes the free acts of His rational creatures in that it is rendered absolutely certain. He Himself will bring them to pass whether immediately or through secondary causes. The only thing God included in His decree but does not effectuate Himself, but uses permissive tactics is sin.

5.   How should we view God deliberating before issuing His decree(s)? Is this important to how we view both
creation and historv?

We should view God's deliberating or "counseling" before issuing His decree as intercommunion between the thre< persons of the Godhead and view that as the deepest divine wisdom possible. God formed his determination with wise insight and knowledge in that He chose to create and reveal His mysteries at the appropriate time to bring His decree to fruition.

6.    How does God's decree relate to time? Does God adapt His plan over time or due to unexpected events in

The divine decree is eternal in the sense that it lies outside of time in eternity. Therefore it can be said that all the acts of God are eternal, since there is no succession of moments in the Divine Being.

7.    How would you view the idea of God having a permissive will and His deterministic will? How does this idea
apply to salvation?

It is a decree that renders the future sinful act absolutely certain, but God determines not to hinder self-determination or freewill but still regulates and controls the result of the sin. God did not simply decree to save sinners without a way to bring the effectuation of salvation through the Son, Jesus Christ.

8.   What is the most common objection to the doctrine of divine decrees? Is the objection of free will based
primarily on biblical, emotional, or logical arguments?

The three most common objections to the doctrine of the divine decree is the free will of man, but there is also the objection that it takes away all motives for human exertion and it makes God the author of Sin. It seems to be based on emotions.

9.   Should the doctrine of a divine decree lead us to become inactive in our life and faith or even to revel in our
sinfulness? Does this doctrine make sin, our sin God's fault? How so?

The divine decree should not be interpreted to mean that God has determined all things including our free will and salvation, so why even bother to put forth any effort to obtain salvation. The decree establishes an interrelation between the means and ends, and ends are decreed only as a result of means, they encourage effort instead of discouraging it.

The decree makes God the author of free moral beings, who are themselves free to chose to do good moral things or be their own author of sin.

Berkhof; Systematic Theology

Part Two: The Works of God

Section #2 - Predestination - pg. 109-125

1.   What are the three most common views when it comes to predestination? What does each of these views
base God's decree of predestination upon?

The three most common views of predestination are pelegian, semi-pelegian/arminian, and Augustinian. Each view bases predestination upon who is elect and who is not.

2.    What do the various terms in the Old Testament and New Testament for predestination really mean? Do the
terms used have a deterministic or absolute nature to them?

The Hebrew vtordyada means "to know" or "to take cognizance" of some one or something or a more robust definition of "taking knowledge of one with loving care" or "making one the object of loving care or elective love." The Greek New Testament words proginskein aadpronosis is in direct relation to yada and is translated as "a selective knowledge which regards one with favor and makes on an object of love" and thus approaches the idea of foreordination. The Hebrew word bachar and the Greek words eklegesthai and ekloge means "to chose out" of and

refer to a prior and eternal election. The Greek words proorizein andprooismos always refer to absolute predestination. The Greek words protithenai and prothesis alludes to that God sets forth a definite plan which he steadfastly sticks to. All terms and definitions seem to point to absolute predestination.

3.   Who is the author of predestination and who are the various objects of predestination? Do some views, even
if unintentionally, turn this view completely around?

God is the author, more the father than the other beings of the triune God. All men and nations, angels and Christ are the objects of predestination. The Arminianism views turn it around.

4.   What are some of the Biblical views or meanings of the term election? How would you describe election? Is
it Biblical?

When the Bible speaks of Israel and sheep it is speaking of God's elect. Election may be defined as "that eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of men to be the recipients of special grace and of eternal salvation.

5.    How would you view election unto salvation? Is the teaching of election something that can be either ignored
or denied? Which view of election do you see giving believers a greater sense of hope and assurance? Why?

The characteristics of election are as follows: 1. It is an expression of the sovereign will of God, His divine good pleasure. 2. It is immutable, and therefore renders the salvation of the elect certain. 3. It is eternal, that is, from eternity. 4. It is unconditional. 5. It is irresistible. 6. It is not chargeable with injustice.

6.   How would you describe the very hard doctrine of reprobation? Is reprobation of the lost a deterministic or
a permissive part of God's decree? How so?

The eternal decree of God is whereby He has determined to pass some men over with His special grace, and to punish them for their sins to the manifestation of His justice. Reprobation is both deterministic and permissive in that it is permissive in preterition of passing by men in giving grace and deterministic in condemnation to actively punish those people for their sins.

7.    Is God being unfair by either not saving all sinners or by not condemning all sinners? Is it helpful to know
that the Bible pictures God saving some of all?

Who are we to question God; the pottery asking the potter? We are all sinners and don't deserve to be saved. Be thankful there is a "remnant" chosen to be saved.

8.    How many sinners would be saved if God had not decided to effectually save some? How do we view texts
that state that God desires all to be saved and yet the Bible is clear that everyone is not saved?

No sinners would be saved would be saved if God didn't elect to save some, for we are all dead in our sins. When the texts point to "everyone" being saved they are referring to everyone elected.

9.    Is there a danger in trying to say more or less than what the Scriptures actually say about either election or
reprobation? How So? Do you have any examples of either?

Anything else beyond scriptures is philosophy and open for debate and error,
Berkhof; Systematic Theology

Part Two: The Works of God

Section #3 — Creation In General - pg. 126-140

1.   What are some of the various views concerning the length of time of creation was accomplished in? Its
moment in time?
The various views of creation are: 6 literal days, instantaneous, eternal creation, continous creation, dualistic The various views of creation are: 6 literal days, instantaneous, eternal creation, continous creation, dualistic The various views of creation are: 6 literal days, instantaneous, eternal creation, continous creation, dualistic creation.
2.   How does the Bible itself consider creation of the universe and the creation story? Who is declared to be the
Creator (just the Father?)? Is this important?
The Bible tells of six days for the creation of all things and that God is the author. Creation is an act of the triune God. Out of the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit Yes this is important.
3.   What are some of the views on whether God could not have created? Did God need the creation?
The pantheistic view of God determines God's absolutely need to make creation. Origen and Rothe try to make it a more personable need by attributing omnipotence and love, but this in not scriptural. The scriptures teach us that God created all things according to the counsel of his will and that He is self-sufficient and not dependant on His God created all things according to the counsel of his will and that He is self-sufficient and not dependant on His God created all things according to the counsel of his will and that He is self-sufficient and not dependant on His creatures in any way.
4.   How do we need to look at God creating in eternity along with creation with or in time? What
questions/issues do we face in discussing these?
The statement of Genesis 1:1 of "In the beginning..." should be viewed as both the beginning of creation and time.
5.   What are some of the non-biblical views or ideas about the origins of the world? What is the biblical view of
the origin of the world? What are some of the biblical terms for creating?
Several views of the origin of the world exist including: a.) Eternal or the product of an antagonistic spirit, b.) Made from pre-existing matter which God used into form (Plato) c.) And emanation out of the divine substance (Syrian, Gnostics, Swedenbor) d.) The appearance of the Absolute, the hidden base of all things (pantheism). The Biblical view is that God created the earth. Some of the biblical terms include: Bara = to split, to cut, to divide, to fashion, to create, to produce, to generate, to regenerate. Asah = to do, to make, doing, making, manufacturing, fashioning. Yatsar - fashioning out of preexistent materials. The New Testament words are ktizein, poiein, themelioun, katartizein, kataskevazein. and plassein. None of these words themselves express the idea of creation out of nothing.
6.   What does it mean for God to have created ex nihttol Is this a biblical teaching? How does this compare to
the idea of evolution that nothing created everything out of nothing?
Though not a ton of scriptural support it is biblical that God created everything out of nothing. All of creation owes God it existence.
7.   Are God and the creation one and the same being? Does it matter whether God is truly distinct from His
creation? How so?
No they are not the same being. It matters in establishing the sovereignty of God.
8.   What would you consider to be the final end or purpose of creation? For humanity? For His glory? For an
outpouring of His love? The receiving of love? Other?

The final end and purpose of creation is for God's glory.
9.   What is the dualistic theory of God and the universe? Is this biblical?

The Dualistic theory states that there are two self-existent principles, God and matter. It makes God not the creator of the universe but the farmer or sculptor of the world. This is not a biblical view.
10. What is the emanation theory of God and the universe? Is this biblical?
The emanation theory states that all flows from God. He is the base that emanates everything. This is a pantheistic view and has some serious flaws and is not biblical.
11. What is the theory of evolution? How do evolutionists view God and matter? Do you believe that evolution
and the Bible can be reconciled? How so?
The theory of evolution is defined as "as series of gradual progressive changes effected by means of resident forces." God is either not a part of the matter or is used to fill in gaps in the theory. Maybe can be reconciled, not likely though.
Berkhof: Systematic Theology
Part Two: The Works of God
Section #4 - Creation Of The Spiritual World - pg. 141-149
1.   What are some of the differing views concerning angels throughout church history? Good? Bad? Physical?
Spiritual? Their work?

There are many views of angles both ethereal bodied and corporal bodied. Good, fallen, Satan, Archangel, and different hierarchy of angles. Their work ranges from purely spiritual advisors to watchers and guardian angels.
2.   Do angels exist? Are they real? Imaginary? How can we know for certain of their existence? Is the biblical
view derived from various pagan religions?
Angels do exist and we know this because there is biblical support for them.

3.   Where did the angels or spiritual beings come from? Were they created or are they immortal like God? If
they were created, when were they created?
Angels were created by God and are immortal. See Job 38:4-7
4.   How would you view the bodies of angels? Do they face or have the same limitations that humans do? How
The bodies of the angels have been described as both ethereal and corporal but either way they are not limited like a human body.
5.   What other characteristics do we know about angels? Life span? Intelligence? Ethical nature? Other?

Thev are rational, moral and immoral and seem to have an eternal life span.

6.   How many angels are there? Are all of the angels the same or are there variations in them? If so, what som<
of the variations? Who are Gabriel and Michael?

The Bible never reveals how many angels there are but refers to them as the host of heaven and names them as the army of God. The Bible also reveals that there are variations of angels, from watchers, principalities, cherubim, seraphim, messengers, etc. Gabriel and Michael are listed as archangels charged with the job of spiritual warfare.
7.   What are the tasks of angels? How and when has God used them in the past? Does God still use angels the
same way?
Some of the tasks of the angles include: ordinary service- praising God, rejoicing in the conversion of sinners, watch over believers. Extraordinary service- mediates the special revelations of God, communicate blessings to His people, and execute judgment upon His enemies. God has used him in Sodom and Gomorrah. It doesn't seem that God uses his angels this way anymore.
8.   Where did the wicked angels come from? Were they created wicked? What are some of the differing views
on their fall? Are these plausible? How so?
Wicked angels came from the good angels they were not created wicked. The Fell lusting after women and fell following Satan. Both are plausible since scripture backs up both.
9.   Who is the head or leader of the fallen angels? What do we know about him? Does Ezekiel 28 address the
fall of Satan?
Lucifer is the head of the fallen angles. He rebelled against god.
10. What do the fallen angels do? Is there a possibility of them being saved? Why or why not?
Like the good angels, the fallen angels are possessed of superhuman power, but their use of it contrasts that of the good angels in that it is used to defy god and spread the work of Satan throughout this world.
11. How much of what is taught and written about angels has good biblical support?
Much of what is taught and written about angles comes from speculation and fiction writings and not biblical support, but the basics of what angels are, and what they do is biblically supported.